Read the following from Aquinas’ Summa theologiae and then challenge yourself to
i) rebut each objection and
ii) articulate your own explanation of the truth,
before reading how St. Thomas does so.
III, q. I, a. 1 – “Is it fitting for God to become incarnate?”
Objection 1. It would seem that it was not fitting for God to become incarnate. Since God from all eternity is the very essence of goodness, it was best for Him to be as He had been from all eternity. But from all eternity He had been without flesh. Therefore it was most fitting for Him not to be united to flesh. Therefore it was not fitting for God to become incarnate.
Objection 2. Further, it is not fitting to unite things that are infinitely apart, even as it would not be a fitting union if one were “to paint a figure in which the neck of a horse was joined to the head of a man” [Horace, Ars. Poet., line 1]. But God and flesh are infinitely apart; since God is most simple, and flesh is most composite–especially human flesh. Therefore it was not fitting that God should be united to human flesh.
Objection 3. Further, a body is as distant from the highest spirit as evil is from the highest good. But it was wholly unfitting that God, Who is the highest good, should assume evil. Therefore it was not fitting that the highest uncreated spirit should assume a body.
Objection 4. Further, it is not becoming that He Who surpassed the greatest things should be contained in the least, and He upon Whom rests the care of great things should leave them for lesser things. But God–Who takes care of the whole world–the whole universe of things cannot contain. Therefore it would seem unfitting that “He should be hid under the frail body of a babe in swathing bands, in comparison with Whom the whole universe is accounted as little; and that this Prince should quit His throne for so long, and transfer the government of the whole world to so frail a body,” as Volusianus writes to Augustine (Ep. cxxxv).
If you already know what Aquinas says, don’t spoil the fun for others.
Let there be comments….